A research undertaken by Chinese scientists from South China University of Technology and China Tobacco Guangdong Industrial Company has established that incense smoke contains chemical properties that are dangerous than cigarettes. The study has shown that incense smoke can be more mutagenic, genotoxic and cytotoxic.
The research team for the study compared the effects of incense and cigarette smoke. Scientists during their study tested two types of incense smoke against cigarette smoke to see their effects on bacteria and ovary cells of Chinese hamsters. The findings published in Environmental Chemistry Letters identified 64 compounds in incense smoke of which two were found to be highly toxic.
The burning of incense releases several particles which upon breathing gets trapped in lungs. These particles are known to cause inflammatory reaction. Smoke from incense consisted of ultrafine and fine particles which can have adverse effects and can potentially change genetic material such as DNA. Burning incense at religious places and during religious ceremonies is a common practise in Asia and West.